31 December 2008


In response to Toni who posted a comment on my previous blog post:

"So being poly is fucking whoever you want, good good I must be poly then but it seems my poly relationships are quite short-term. I know some of my past poly relationships have been with people who were in relationships with monogamous partners, but it would have been bad form for me to discourage their poly lifestyle, even though their husbands were probalbly unaware of the poly element in their relationship. I guess it is the responsibility of the poly partner in a monogamous relationship to inform her partner. It would be socially awkward for me to introduce myself as the fellow who is fucking his wife!"

At no point will I ever encourage someone who is poly to act in a dishonest way in their relationship/s. Cheating on your partner/s is always cheating regardless of whether you are poly or monogamous. You can cheat on your poly partners as easily as you can cheat when you are monogamous. I discourage all forms of cheating and instead encourage people who are tempted to cheat to sort out why they are tempted to and to talk to their partners about it or resolve the issue as they best possibly can. Counselling is always a good option.

To say that polyamory is fucking whoever you want is over simplifying the whole issue. Polyamory is ethical non-monogamy. If fucking whoever you want is indeed ethical to both you and the fuckee, then go for it. If it isn't, then perhaps you need to rethink your strategy and ideals and come up with something that is ethical.

I demand honesty from my partners and I give it in return. I would have big, insurmountable issues with a partner if they were not being honest with me, in fact that would be a deal breaker. Part of that honesty is ensuring that their partner is aware of me and ok with the relationship I have with them, whether that relationship lasts for a night or much longer.

24 December 2008


Polyamory: [as taken from Wikipedia] is the desire, practice, or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Polyamorous perspectives differ from monogamous perspectives, in that they respect a partner's wish to have second or further meaningful relationships and to accommodate these alongside their existing relationships.

Monogamy: [also from Wikipedia] is the custom or condition of having only one mate in a relationship, thus forming a couple.

Why, you ask, did I feel the need to find these definitions and put them up here? Good question, and one I shall answer, after finding a much better definition of monogamy.

Monogamy: [from the Macquarie Dictionary] 2. the practice of remaining faithful to a single sexual partner.
3. Zoology the habit of having only one mate.

Ok, I am poly, James is poly, my girlfriend is poly, Scott is monogamous. This seems to be a bit of an issue for some people (and I am relationships with all these people if that wasn't clear). Their reasoning is:
  • If someone is in a relationship with someone else who is poly and that first person is actively poly, then the second (third/fourth/etc) person must also be poly.
And I think that this reasoning is flawed. Its flawed because it removes the option for someone to self identify (which has its own range of problems [I'm not going to enter the "I'm a lesbian who has sex with mostly men" debate here]) and also assumes that monogamy and polyamory cannot coexist in the same sphere, that they are mutually exclusive.

Clearly I'm shooting this reasoning and theory in the head. I'm poly and in a relationship with a monogamous man. I'm not someone who identifies as poly who is currently acting monogamous and in a monogamous relationship, because that's a different game again. I am actively poly and yet one of my partners is monogamous.

You see, as long as he doesn't mind that I see other people, which he doesn't, then my other relationships are mine and have no impact on his sexual or relationship orientation. With the definitions above (minus the definition of monogamy from Wikipedia which is rather useless), there is nothing stopping Scott being monogamous and in a relationship with me while I'm being in a relationship with him and other people, that is being poly.

If Scott later decides to dabble in the pool of polyamory, which at this point he has stated he has no inclination to do, then that's his choice and I will respect that and probably encourage it (as well as be supportive and a good partner). If he chooses not to, if he remains monogamous for the rest of his life, I will also support and respect his decision.

See, monogamy and polyamory can coexist side by side in the same sphere and work.

15 December 2008

Telling the world you're poly

I noticed within myself when I became actively poly, versus knowing I was poly and not doing much about it, that I wanted to tell the world about my new relationship and how magnificent it all was, and how everyone was getting along so well.

I think most people go through this, I've certainly watched monogamous people do this with their latest partner, so the fact that polyamorous people want to do it too should come as no great surprise. I suspect part of it has to do with the rush of new relationship energy, and wanting to tell the whole world how lucky you are that you found X (and Y and Z perhaps).

However, telling the world when you're poly is trickier than when you are monogamous. In my experience, this has stemmed from having to explain what polyamory is in the first place and dealing with various people's prejudices about monogamy being the preferred option, whether that be helped religious beliefs or their own ideals.

My own experience pointed to different phases in telling the world that I am poly. The first phase was telling people and then explaining it to them. During this period I was afraid of rejection from friends and family and went out of my way to explain that James and I were happily married, that our respective partners were new and sustainable relationships and that it wasn't all going to end in tears.

The second phase had me explain poly, but in a much more positive mind set. I had moved to the, "if you don't like it, that's your problem and not mine" mindset. Which meant that I wasn't afraid of rejection, because that was not my problem, and if someone walked away because of my lifestyle, then perhaps they weren't worth keeping.

The final phase has me now just expecting people to cope with the fact that I am poly. I will just drop into conversation that I have two husbands and a girl friend and expect people to keep up. This is actually the easiest, for me, of all the phases. I believe that because I have an expectation that people will keep up, and most of the hard work (my family and close friends) have already been told. Therefore, if someone objects now, then its not going to be as painful.

To get to the final phase I believe requires a level of confidence about yourself and your lifestyle choices. The final phase also requires you to not take rejection personally. To recognise that their rejection is their issue and if they cannot or will not cope with your choices in life, then that doesn't mean that you are not ok, it just means that they cannot cope.

My final bit of advice in relation to telling people that you are poly is to choose your battles wisely. We still have friends we haven't told because it isn't worth the angst it would cause. Not to us, but to them, and we don't want to upset them that much. Consideration as to how your employer might react is also worthwhile before outing yourself at work. I'm a Federal Public Servant in Australia, my employer can't discriminate against me, and my colleagues don't care. But some employers might, and since some discrimination isn't illegal, its best to be careful and know how your employer will deal with such things before telling them.

Good luck in telling everyone you want to tell.